JUBA – As the people of South Sudan enter the second year of their country’s independence, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is working with them to face the challenge of building a new nation and to overcome food insecurity.
“WFP has stood alongside the people of the world’s newest country through serious challenges in South Sudan’s first year, and we will continue to do so,” said WFP Country Director Chris Nikoi. “While WFP is providing lifesaving food assistance to the hungry at a time of growing need, we are also committed to supporting agriculture and infrastructure projects that will help South Sudan build longer-term food security.”
A joint WFP-FAO food security assessment found that some 4.7 million people – nearly half the population – will be moderately or severely food insecure in South Sudan this year.
The causes are a complex blend of factors, including erratic rains that led to a failed cereal harvest, with a cereal deficit for 2012 estimated at more than 470,000 metric tons – almost half of the country’s total consumption requirements for the year. High food and fuel prices, increased demand, border closures between South Sudan and Sudan, austerity measures as a result of loss of revenue due to the oil shut down and conflict-related displacements have contributed to the problem.
While continuing its life-saving food relief, WFP has increased the emphasis on community-based activities to ensure that the vicious cycle of hunger can be broken once and for all.
WFP plans to feed some 2.9 million people this year in South Sudan. About one third of these people will receive food assistance through community asset-creating projects that include converting unused land into farmland and other activities that help communities improve their food security.
So far this year, WFP’s beneficiaries have made at least 3,000 hectares of land ready to grow crops and established 30 community vegetable gardens. More than 200 kilometres of roads and 18 kilometres of dykes to protect communities from floods are due to be constructed this year.
In addition to general food distributions, WFP provides assistance through nutrition activities, school meals and food support for medical institutions.
Fighting malnutrition is another top priority. In 2012, WFP will provide specialized nutritional support to 600,000 children, pregnant women and nursing mothers, deploying smart foods to prevent the irreversible damage that under-nutrition can cause to children’s brains and bodies.
For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org):
George Fominyen, WFP/Juba, Mob. +211 (0) 922 465247
Stephanie Tremblay, WFP/Nairobi, Tel. +254 20 762 2336 Mob. +254 707 722 105
Emilia Casella, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 3854, Mob. +39 347 9450634
Caroline Hurford, WFP/London, Tel. +44 20 72409001, Mob. +44 7968 008474
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1 646 5566909, Mob. +1 646 8241112